I woke up in the early morning with the worst itching of my life! Our lunch spot after the rafting trip was swarming with mosquitoes. We had been prepared for mosquitoes in the Amazon but were never warned about the rafting trip! Ironically, Sacha Lodge turned out to be no problem with mosquitoes at all as they can't breed in the black water which surrounds the lodge.
After a one hour delay at the airport due to a broken rear airplane door, we departed for the 30 minute flight to Coca. Coca has the feel of a "frontier town". We were picked up in a creaky truck with wooden seats constructed in the truck bed.
After some orientation and refreshments, we boarded our canoe for a 2-3 hour ride down the Napo River (yes it had a motor). The river is full of silt and requires constant back-and-forth maneuvering to avoid getting stuck. One can see the power of the river as evidenced by the thousands of trees falling into the river as the banks are constantly eroded. For the first hour of the trip, we watched a storm build to the south of us. Suddenly the boat stopped and ponchos were quickly passed out and we were told to "hunker down". Within minutes, the sky opened let loose. Despite wearing the ponchos, it was impossible to completely keep dry. My kids got a kick out of the fact that I was sitting near the outside of the windward side of the canoe and got the brunt of the storm.
We arrived at our landing point along the river and were met by more guides who escorted us on a 30 minute walk into the jungle. Immediately, one got the sense of entering a different world of water, sound and incredible plant life! Squirrel Monkeys scurried overhead.
We finally arrived at a small creek where we boarded small canoes and were paddled into a large black water lake called Pilchicocha. On the other side, we could make out the thatched roof of a boat house. I'm not kidding when I say that this looked like something out of Robinson Caruso!
After arriving at the Sacha Lodge, we joined a welcome reception in the sitting area of the main building which is a two story thatched structure with a quaint bar and plush wicker furniture. I was waiting for Humphrey Bogart to walk in!
Our cabins were very comfortable. I can't tell you how impressed we were with the facilities. I constantly found myself thinking about how much it must take to maintain the place which essentially sits on stilts above the water and mud.
On the evening of our arrival, Sacha hosted its once weekly barbecue at the boathouse. The food was delicious! We were all quite tired from traveling and went to bed soon after dinner. All of the mysterious and fascinating sounds of the jungle could be heard right out of the windows of our cabin. What an experience!